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Education in the Media: Wednesday 20 February 2019

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: early years, Further education, Technical education
The Education Secretary meets with pre-schoolers at Busy Bunnies Nursery in Braybrook, Peterborough.

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at new announcements from the Education Secretary, as well as T Level funding.

Peterborough Visit

Today, Wednesday 20 February, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds is visiting an early years setting in Peterborough which is running a project focused on improving the home learning environment. This visit coincides with the announcement of free access to high-quality early years apps for disadvantaged families, as well as the launch of the £5 million trials in the north which the Education Secretary announced in November, to be run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). There was coverage for these announcements in the Mail, the Telegraph, the Times, the Independent and the Guardian.

Families having access to interactive learning tools can put children in a better position when starting school and families from disadvantaged backgrounds will get free access to top of the range educational apps, in a bid to make screen time as constructive as possible.

The £5m projects being run by the EEF and Leeds-based education charity SHINE will also be vital in providing support to 6,000 families in the north of England – building on the Education Secretary’s 10-year ambition to halve the proportion of children leaving reception without the communication skills needed to thrive.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

No parent has all of the answers. Being a parent is like learning to drive: wonderful, full of new discovery, but at times challenging, with plenty of obstacles to swerve. Our children are growing up in a constantly changing world and it is hard to keep up.

And when it comes to children and technology – that’s where a manual can be helpful. Not all screen time is created equal: on one side there are the pressures that come with social media and the time spent looking at a screen, which is a key worry for parents – but on the other, the power of technology and the internet can open up a whole new world when embraced properly.

But it’s also difficult to navigate, and often expensive, so I want to support parents of all backgrounds to feel able to embrace its benefits and use it in a measured, sensible way that helps improve children’s early development at home.

Screens can be an easy distraction for children, but harnessing the power of technology to support early communication and development means that we have another tool in our arsenal to help young kids develop those skills.

You can read more on this news here.

T Levels

Today, the Times ran an article on the Association for Colleges’ call for the base per-pupil funding rate for T Levels to be raised from £4,000 to £5,000 per pupil in order to help the T levels be successful.

We are supporting the launch of our new T levels in several ways. We have launched the industry placement Capacity and Delivery fund – nearly £60 million has already been allocated to institutions to help them develop their capacity to deliver placements to every T Level student. We also recently launched a £38 million fund to help build new classrooms, refurbish buildings and upgrade equipment readiness for the first T Level providers. There is also a further £20 million being invested over two years to March 2020 to support teaching and delivery.

In November we launched a T Level funding consultation for colleges, schools and providers to have their say on T Level funding and will be looking at this carefully in the run-up to the next Spending Review.

Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships, Anne Milton said:

As the Association of Colleges rightly recognise, T Levels will be a major upgrade in technical education. We are working closely with colleges, providers and business to get the delivery of this key reform right. T Levels will be backed by an additional half a billion pounds every year once they are all fully rolled out.

To prepare for the introduction of T Levels we are investing £20 million to support teachers and leaders as well as the £38 million T Level Capital Fund to make sure first providers of T Levels have the latest, high quality equipment and state-of the art facilities. “However, we do recognise the pressures in the further education sector and we welcome their support in raising this important issue. We are looking carefully at this in the run-up to the next Spending Review.

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